The Best People in the World

The Best People in the World

By Justin Tussing

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060815356, 336pp.

Publication Date: January 2007


In Paducah, Kentucky, seventeen-year-old Thomas feels as reined in as the mighty Ohio, a river confined by high floodwalls protecting his small Southern hometown. But all boundaries vanish when Thomas experiences first love with Alice, his new history teacher, a woman eight years his senior--and when he meets Shiloh, a misfit vagabond and anarchist who becomes his new role model. Fleeing to rural Vermont, this unlikely trio boldly pursues freedom, intimacy, and seclusion, unfettered by commitments and rules. But a life apart from the world does not ensure a life apart from the past--and for one of them, the past that emerges will threaten tragedy.

About the Author
Justin Tussing's short fiction has appeared in several publications, including The New Yorker, TriQuarterly, and Third Coast. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and he lives in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For The Best People in the World

“An engrossing tale . . . The novel ultimately succeeds because of the original voice of the narrator.”
-USA Today

“Tussing is a fine writer with a flair for imagery, and he’s crafted a melancholy, resonant story.”
-Boston magazine

“Inventive . . . Eloquent in capturing what it’s like to be alien in your own hometown.
-Rocky Mountain News

“Bleakly beautiful... Tussing skillfully crafts simultaneously visionary and demented characters... [An] odd but honest, appealing American story.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A fresh, original voice . . . Tussing fashions a sophisticated exploration of the allure of love.”
-Des Moines Register

“One bright book of exuberant American life . . . Tussing has a real gift.”
-New York Times Book Review

“It is very rare to find a novel so lovingly, deliberately and perfectly written . . . Read it. Now.”

“A significant literary feat... Announces the arrival of a talented young voice on the contemporary fiction scene.”
-Boston Sunday Globe

“This novel is rich in character, and it offers scene after scene of crackling, revelatory dialogue among lovers and friends.”
-Chicago Tribune

“[A] lovely novel . . . Tussing is a witty, affecting writer.”
-Washington Post Book World

“A richly complicated and very wonderful novel . . . Ambitious and mesmerizing.”

“A self-assured debut that lovingly depicts how the past never stops revisiting us, even if we can’t revisit it.”
-Portland Oregonian

“A strong work... Tussing’s take on the irrevocability of adolescent whim and heady self-determination is chillingly real.”
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A rewarding read... Witty, well paced, and inventive... Tussing writes beautifully.”
-Christian Science Monitor

“Marks the arrival of a compelling novelist with the gifts to enhance the contemporary literary landscape.”

“Plaintive and powerful imagery... Breathtaking... A hauntingly atmospheric ode to love’s enigmatic and labyrinthine nature.”

“Filled with surprise, recklessness, melancholy, headlong romance, and hilarity. Justin Tussing is the real thing. It doesn’t happen that often.”
-Ron Hansen, author of MARIETTE IN ECSTASY and ATTICUS, National Book Award Finalist

“[A] beautiful, fearless novel... By turns comic and mysterious and wild, ultimately this is a heartbreaking book.”
-Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of MADELEINE IS SLEEPING, National Book Award finalist

“Undeniably original imagination . . . An impressive work of fiction by a writer blessed with a distinctive voice.”

“Defies categorization... The twists and turns are never predictable, and the open-ended denouement will leave readers wanting more.”
-Pittsburgh Tribune Review